Last time in Justice League, we learned Lex and Martian Manhunter have a past they have forgotten. This week, James Tynion IV takes that new knowledge forward with Lex Luthor combating Brainiac via the mind. It gets trippy, folks.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Legion of Doom returns as the history of the Legionnaires Club is revealed! Lex Luthor’s mysterious connection to this ancient secret society runs deeper than even his Legion of Doom comrades ever suspected, and his secrets threaten to destroy everything. A blood connection to the dark underbelly of the DCU’s history bubbles to the surface in this epic, villainous tale.
Why does this matter?
It’s growing more and more apparent Lex is not only a major villain in Tynion and Scott Snyder’s plans but may even be the glue that holds it all together. From his ability to manage these other villains to contemplating how to get his way in new ways, the character has seen some interesting growth. This issue is no different.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
If you thought you knew everything about Lex Luthor’s past think again. This issue delves deeply into the story of Persephone that goes back thousands of years on Earth. I won’t spoil it, much of this issue is about the journey as Lex reveals truths about his father and a key villain. At its core though there’s a lesson about faith, truth, and knowing thyself. Tynion IV pulls this off wonderfully with dialogue and key reveals further showing how Lex isn’t just super smart, but aware of himself and where he belongs in history. He’s still a villain at his core though, for instance in a moment where he might forgive his farther he reiterates he still hates the man even if he was screwed over. The key element of this issue though is how Lex is being built up not just as a blind villain with evil thoughts, but deeper reasons for his motivations.
It’s interesting to see how this series is changing a lot of what we think of the DCU. Villains we thought were mucking about doing bad things did them for reasons connected to the Totality. There’s a deeper message about heroism and villainy afoot here that raises this up beyond simple superhero stuff.
Most of this issue takes place in the mindscape of Brainiac as he taps into Lex’s mind. Pasqual Ferry draws some amazing visages in this mindscape that are trippy and cool, suiting the sci-fi take on a strange mind-made architecture. This premise allows the story to pop around history and Ferry keeps your interest via bizarre perspectives and odd sizes of Lex vs. Brainiac and ghost-like apparitions.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There is a lot of telling and not a lot of showing in this issue. Even when it pops into the past you have characters explaining what they’re doing more than doing it. Maybe that’s in part thanks to research and archeology not really looking cool visually, but it makes this a heavy dose of exposition without a lot of interesting visuals.
Is it good?
A good issue that reveals a bigger endgame is afoot for Snyder and Tynion IV’s Justice League. This series continues to wow me with its ideas and well thought out scope.